I’ll answer your last question first: yes, you do need a flu shot this year, just as you do every other year. Try to get one by the end of October, before the flu season begins. It should last you into the spring, throughout the duration of the flu season.
As far as a COVID-19 vaccine is concerned, the latest information I’ve seen suggests that it probably won’t be available to the general public until the late spring or summer of 2021. I understand that while limited supplies of the vaccine may be available as soon as November and December 2020, these are intended for first-responders as well as patients at greatest risk for death. Reportedly, the vaccine will be distributed more widely as soon as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves it, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends who should receive initial doses. The g goal is eventually to have enough of the vaccine for everyone in the U.S. who wishes to be vaccinated.
In the meantime, it’s up to all of us to protect ourselves from the virus. In testimony before a Senate appropriations subcommittee in September CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield, said we “already have a weapon” that he believes could be even more effective against COVID-19 than the vaccine: face masks, which he termed the “most important, powerful public health tool we have.” He added that he might even go so far as to say that “this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID-19 than when I take a COVID-19 vaccine, because the immunogenicity may be 70 percent. And if I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine’s not going to protect me. This face mask will.” Bear that in mind and be sure to wear your mask. Remember that just speaking is enough to spread the virus to those unprotected by a mask.
The sad fact is we may not be able to return to a “pre-Covid” life until 2022 according to Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief science officer at the World Health Organization. She has said that between 60 and 70 percent of the world’s population would need to have immunity to the virus before there is a dramatic reduction in its transmission. She has been quoted in news reports as saying “for a long time to come we have to maintain the same kind of measures that are currently put in place with physical distancing, the masking and respiratory hygiene.”
Andrew Weil, M.D.
“Most Americans probably won’t be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine until mid-2021,” CDC director says, September 16, 2020, cnn.com/2020/09/16/health/us-coronavirus-wednesday/index.html